Monday, July 22, 2024

Second sewer spill this month hits Burnt Mill Creek

Burnt Mill Creek at Shirley Road, where 72,000 gallons of sewage spilled into waterway, which ultimately leads to the Cape Fear River. (Port City Daily photo | Courtesy Friends of Burnt Mill Creek)
Burnt Mill Creek, which ultimately leads to the Cape Fear River, has been hit by two sewer spills in July. (Port City Daily photo | Courtesy Friends of Burnt Mill Creek)

WILMINGTON — The Cape Fear Public Utility Authority announced today that several sewers along Burnt Mill Creek overflowed over the weekend.

According to CFPUA, several sanitary sewers overflowed on Sunday, July 29, sending about 1,575 gallons of wastewater into Burnt Mill Creek.

“The latest SSO was the result of high flows in the sewers. Standing water, saturated soils, and continued rainfall infiltrated and overloaded the sewer system beyond capacity,” CFPUA spokesperson Peg Hall-Williams said.

CFPUA reported receiving a call about the overflow at 1 p.m. on Sunday. The authority said pump station crews were already out, monitoring CFPUA systems, which allowed a quick response.

“The locations of the SSOs were Kline Road, 21st Street, and Wallace Park area. Vactor crews conducted pump and haul operations until the spills subsided, all sanitary sewer overflows were stopped by 2:45 pm and CFPUA conducted clean-up operations,” according to CFPUA.

Although this spill was much smaller, it is the second sewer overflow to hit the Burnt Mill Creek system this month. On July 17, CFPUA sewers spilled over 70,000 gallons of wastewater into the waterway, one of the area’s largest recent spills. According to Hall-Williams, the spill was caused when a lightning strike disabled a pump station.

Burnt Mill Creek’s average bacteria level is already seven times higher than state and federal guidelines for recreational waters — even when there has not been a recent spill. Officials at the state’s Department of Environmental Quality say animal waste – especially from pets – plays a large role in those levels.

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